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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo: Drag ballet company 'getting better, better and better' (with video)

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

The gender-bending, world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo performs Tuesday, Feb. 1, at The Fillmore in Miami Beach.

"What the company is is an all-male comedy ballet company. Drag ballet," says Tory Dobrin, the 37-year-old company's longtime artistic director. "It's a dance company. What we do is satirize modern ballet and classical dance works with high-quality performance."

Though still amusing, drag ballet in 2011 no longer is shocking.

"You go on the New York subway and see signs for RuPaul's Drag Race; Hulk Hogan in a tutu," Dobrin says. "Drag is very mainstream now."

The TROCKS were "founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form," according to the company's website.

"The dancers are very good. They're also comedians," says Dobrin, now in his 30th season with the TROCKS.

"We try to offer the public a variety of everything: personalities, music, dance styles, costuming," he says. "The audience will really see a very full evening of fun dance."

The TROCKS perform 120-140 times a year, he says. "The dancers are really comfortable doing this and are really in command of what they're doing. The evening is a lot of fun for everyone.

"People are really interested in going to the theater and getting their money's worth. And their time's worth,'' he says. "That's kind of vulgar though."

After touring the United States, the TROCKS will head to the United Kingdom, Greece, China and Japan. The company has performed in 500 cities, according to Dobrin.

"We get no other funding. We earn our living by doing performances," he says.

Dobrin says the TROCKS remain as relevant today as in 1974. "No one has seen more shows of ballet Trockadero than me. If I can say yes, then the company is doing what's it's supposed to do."

Several reasons why the TROCKS stay fresh, according to Dobrin:

"We change the program. Change the ballets and I change the leading dancers. That's super important. Like Lucille Ball and Gracie Allen, even if they changed the material, it wouldn't be very different. No two dancers in Trockadero, or comedians, are the same."

Dobrin says that "as the company ages, the dancing is getting better, better and better. It allows us to be a little bit more extreme with the comedy. It's a balance thing."

IF YOU GO

Judy Drucker presents Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb.1, at The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater. Tickets $35.25 to  $89.75 with fees. Click here to purchase.

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